Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Chapter 77: NO! -- Not Mary Pettygree!

Date: September 9, 1904 (2015)
Location: Village of Ramanujam
Situation: Replenish Locomotive 1300's Water 
Sept. 25, 1900: Thugee armistice, recall from India and retirement.
April 30, 1903: Learns armistice broken by resurgent Thugee Army.
May 9, 1903: Recalled to duty in India to break the Thugees.
June 1903: Assumes command in Egypt as a ruse.
September 1903: Secretly departs Egypt for India.
Next four months: Assembles the Army.
Feb. 22, 1904 Gen. Pettygree Arrives at Tapi River Camp near Burhanpur.
Feb. 23, 1904: Battle of Burhanpur.
Feb. 23, 1904: Skull fracture caused by sniper
Mar. 4, 1904: Arrived at St. George Hospital, Bombay, India
Sept. 7, 1904: Train Back To The Field Force
Sept. 9, 1904: Station Stop To Rewater Engine 1300
See Previous Chapter 76 here:


General and Mary Pettygree are en-route from Bombay to Delhi.

Some passengers rode atop the train.

Naturally the Pettygrees were accommodated in first class.

William, the conductor just passed by. In fifteen minutes the train stops at Ramanujam to replenish water for the locomotive. I'm going to get off to find fresh fruit for us.

I have just enough time to change clothes.

Have a care Mary. --- Trouble is far to the north --- but....

Darling, food vendors are always right at the station platform. 
I'll hop off and be back aboard in the blink of an eye.

Right, dear. I'll get up in a few min.... dress an'....

Arrival at Ramanujam.

Mr. Winslogic prepared to disembark too. 
What he saw next shocked him grievously. 

STOP or I'll shoot! --- ALARM! --- I SAY, ALARM!  
HELP! --- Constables! --- Scoundrels have....

Taken Mary Pettygree off the train!

Who are they?

As the evil doers ran, they confronted a peasant leading his water buffalo.

The leader, a boy really, demanded the farmer step aside. 
He knew it would be bad karma to bother the holy herbivore.

You are mad taking the English woman!

Quiet or else you will be in your next incarnation too soon.

They carried her bleeding through a break in a hedge. Three continued to brandish their traditional yellow rumals. Only the swaggering boy prevented her immediate strangulation at the hands of this murderous band of thugs.

They hurriedly left the village....

Moving swiftly and deeply into the prodigious jungle nearby.

Later they hideously congratulated themselves shouting shabash.

My father will be proud and make me a yuva rajah.
You my holy brothers will be generously rewarded by Kali.

They then enthusiastically bellowed shabash many more times!


General, I... Mr. Winslogic says your wife was abducted.


I saw it happen, raised the alarm but there are no constables here.
I could not fire for fear of striking your wife.


The wretched fiends took her --- north --- into the jungle.


1) Translations
   Shabash = hurrah or bravo.
   Yuva rajah = young lord

2) Buildings are Miniature Building Authority. Abductors are from Pulp Figures. The locomotive and coaches are Lionel Trains "O Gauge" models. Taking the baggage coach apart allowed scratch-built construction of a portion of the Pettygree's first class compartment. Thank you John B. for the loan of your water tank.

Oh the horror. What else can we do or say? I will naturally give your remarks to General Pettygree if he recovers --- placed below at Comments.
***** ***** *****

Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Sword and The Flame Test Game Part 2

The late Larry Brom's celebrated rules being used. These and variants are available from Lori Brom at her website, Sergeants 3. $25.00 + $3.00 shipping/handling = $28.00 in the USA. Super value.


Wilhelmshaven from west to east; left to right.

Early in the morning during assembly, news arrived indicating enemy forces were heading for Wilhelmshaven. It was believed they would initially hide in distant rock formations.

Schutztruppe were ordered into the Observation Tower to give the alarm.

Kurt Strassen: "The foe will be out those seven rocky areas."

We did not uglify the game with cards positioned like this. They are in this photo solely to show how native deployment areas were identified. Chuck L. built them from insulation foam board and wood chips.

In TSATF, a card deck (not the one above) is used to move and fire units; red for Imperials and black for their foes.

When a black card was drawn, we drew one card from the second card deck above.

If the ACE was drawn, a native unit chosen by John or Chuck would be placed in area #1. If a six, then a unit would be placed in area #6. Afterwards such cards are removed from play. Thus, spreading out occurs without harmful scenario imbalances in any one or more areas.

The joker allowed placement wherever desired in one of the seven zones. If an 8, 9 or 10 was drawn, nothing got deployed.

When this second deck was used up, we put the eleven cards back together again and reshuffled. Two turns were needed to deploy all natives units. This system was our adaptation for the scenario.

"Hey Bill! You could use a ten sided die instead."

"True. That kind of randomness at first can be appealing. But, what if a result of 2 shows up three times? And it will. Ditto for other numbers too!"

"Then there will be too many units in one or more places - not spread out enough. I've seen this happen. It harms the scenario. Moreover what if Philip is opposite an area where no natives deploy? Another example. What if Tim has to wait hours before his units arrive because Charlie's units are ahead of him on a road marching onto the table? Historically okay but Tim has to sit with nothing to do for a long time. Not good for playability or companionability."

"People come to games to move units, throw dice and not sit idle."

East (right) of the Observation Tower

Werner Steinke: "Kapitän! The enemy is in sight in the rocky hills.

 Kapitän Ostricker: "Tell the helmsman to move away from the dock." 

Moments later the bow gun fired. 

Upon a body of natives approaching Wilhelmshaven.

Whilst a company of the Britannian 66th Foot waited for the order to fire.

Observation Tower Area

Strassen and his comrades saw the shell explode. Below them other....

Schutztruppe awaited events coming on fast. To their left front....

A troop of Britannian Lancers crossed the Zambezi encountering a surprise charge by the foe!

The struggle was herculean. They burst through at immense cost to themselves while...

Settlers and more lancers hurried to cross the bridge to dubious safety.

Elsewhere the indomitable foe surged forward.

Hoping to overcome the garrison and recover their homeland.


1. TSATF uses twenty-sided dice to fire. Instead of throwing D20s, collecting, reading them and putting them back in a pile....

Chuck placed D20s and D6s in this plastic compartmented box. It contains all the dice in a compact space. What you do is hold the box, shake it vigorously and then....

Gently slam the box down on the table. Dice results can be easily read through the box top. I've opened it here so you can see the results of ten D20s. No dice fall to the floor. No wild throws rebounding off a building three feet away and so on.

2. The battle is only just underway. We plan to resume the game soon. Want to join us?

3. Buildings are Miniature Building Authority. The gunboat is a Richard Houston one of a kind. Its target (Pygmies) are from the collection of Todd B. Schutztruppe are on loan from Der Alte Fritz. Pathans are from my collection. They usually are the dreadful foes of General Pettygree whom you know on this blog. The 66th and Lancers are part of the General's Field Force. Remember, in Mafrica every kind of unit is welcome.

4. Until next time, move units, throw dice and get players active every turn. This way it's more companionable and fun.

Remarks Wlcome at Comments Below.